Thursday, January 19, 2012

Our Syllabus

What Now? Aesthetics and Politics Between Past and Future

Critical Studies 500-1, Spring 2012

Third Street Lecture Hall, Fridays, 9.00-11.45

Instructor: Dale Carrico;

Course Web-Site: whatnowbetweenpastandfuture

Approximate Grade Breakdown: Attendance/Participation 25%; Precis/Co-facilitation 25%; Symposium Presentation 10%; 25pp. Paper 40%

Provisional Schedule of Meetings:


Week One | 20 Course and Personal Introductions.

Week Two | 27 Fontenelle Digression on the Ancients and the Moderns | Hobbes, excerpts from Leviathan on Power, Wit, Equality -- Poems by Rochester, all posted on the blog | George Etherege, The Man of Mode

Supplemental: William Temple, On Ancient and Modern Learning, Jonathan Swift, "The Battle of the Books," Luc Ferry, Rights: The New Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns


Week Three | 3 Kant Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View, What Is Enlightenment? | Willian Congreve, The Way of the World

Supplemental: Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy, J.B. Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy

Week Four | 10 Schiller, Aesthetic Education of Man | Richard Sheridan, The School for Scandal

Supplemental: Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy, Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism

Week Five | 17 Engels "Marx as the Darwin of History" on blog, Marx on the Fetishism of Commodities | Adam Smith: excerpts from Wealth of Nations and John Stuart Mill on Homo Economicus, all on the blog | John Gay, The Beggar's Opera

Supplemental: Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature

Week Six | 24 Oscar Wilde, "Soul of Man Under Socialism," and The Importance of Being Earnest, including the cut "Grigsby Episode" on the blog; Preface to Dorian Grey, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young, Transcripts of the Wilde Trials.

Supplemental: Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process


Week Seven | 2 From Aesthetics and Politics, Presentation I, Ernst Bloch Versus Georg Lukacs, Presentation II, Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin, pp. 9-99; Fredric Jameson, Reflections in Conclusion, pp. 196-213 | in class screening of Noel Coward, "Hands Across the Sea"

Supplemental: Gayatri Spivak, Death of a Discipline, Paul Gilroy Postcolonial Melancholia

Week Eight | 9 From Aesthetics and Politics, Presentation III, Adorno Versus Benjamin, pp. 100-143 | Benjamin, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproducibility | Horkheimer and Adorno, Culture Industry; Adorno Culture Industry Revisited | Marinetti, Futurist Manifesto | Joe Orton, The Good and Faithful Servant

Supplemental: Susan Buck-Morss, The Dialectics of Seeing, Dreamworld and Catastrophe

Week Nine | 16 Spring Break

Week Ten | 23 Louis Althusser, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses | Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future, "Preface: The Gap Between Past and Future," pp. 3-14, Human Condition: Action (handout) | Kafka Before the Law, and on the blog "Give It Up!"

Supplemental: Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish

Week Eleven | 30 Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, and also the Preface to the Third French Edition | Joe Orton, "Entertaining Mr. Sloane"

Supplemental: Roland Barthes, Mythologies


Week Twelve | 6 Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style | Susan Sontag, Notes on Camp

Supplemental: David Lloyd, Paul Thomas: Culture and the State

Week Thirteen | 13 MFA Reviews

Week Fourteen | 20 in-class screening of Todd Haynes' "Velvet Goldmine," videos on blog by David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Marilyn Manson, Lady Gaga, and others.

Supplemental: From Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition, from Jameson,Postmodernism, Bruno Latour We Have Never Been Modern

Week Fifteen | 27 Naomi Klein -- Introduction to No Logo One and Two, and Patriarchy Gets Funky | Claire Bishop Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics -- in-class screening of AbFab episode, "Doorhandle"

Supplemental: David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Saskia Sassen Territory, Authority, Rights


Week Sixteen | 4 Symposium
Hand in Final Essay no later than May 8

Course Objectives:
1. To think the "now" as a modernity substantiated in serial quarrels of ancients and moderns, as a vantage from which offer up aesthetic judgments, and as a provocation to change implicating the aesthetic in the political.
2. To think the relation of aesthetics and politics -- in our own "now," construed as the consummating moment of Neoliberalism -- via a survey of mostly post-marxist aesthetic and cultural theory.
3. To contemplate some of the ways in which cultural/political subjects have made spectacles of themselves for audiences of themselves, especially on stages and screens, roughly concurrently with the ways in which they have struggled to think themselves along the way.
4. To grasp some of the fraught relations of the cultural and the social to one another through the indispensability to each of the state and of the state itself to the states of culture and society.

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